Public gets a look at the Kinetic Knights robot at open house
By Liz Dadson


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Honouring mentor Lyle Semple (R) with a nomination for the Woodie Flowers award, are Kush Joshi (L), Luke Splettstoesser and Alex Pagnan, during Saturday's open house

A demonstration of the Kinetic Knights practice robot for the 2014 challenge, "Aerial Assist," at the open house, Saturday afternoon, at the Lake  Huron Learning Centre

The Kinetic Knights robot shoots during a practice session before the end of build Feb. 18
video by David Dadson

A crowd watches the Kinetic Knights practice robot go through its paces at the open house, Saturday afternoon, at the Lake Huron Learning Centre

It was the Kinetic Knights robotics team's chance to shine, Saturday afternoon, during the open house at the Lake Huron Learning Centre, showcasing its robot which will be competing in the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) challenge, "Aerial Assist."

And, of course, the practice robot refused to co-operate.

But that didn't stop FRC Team 781 from wowing the crowd.

Administrative captain Kush Joshi outlined this year's FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) challenge, the awards and outreach work that has been done, the success of the build, and noted that the team is now a registered charity.

Build captain Luke Splettstoesser said the team built a "robust" robot that can sustain the battlefield of this year's challenge. It also has heavy-duty traction so it can push other robots and move around quickly on the field.

It has a mechanism on the top to catch the game ball (a two-foot in diameter medicine ball) and another device to throw the ball over a truss in the centre of the field and through the scoreboard.

The drive team of Splettstoesser, Nikhil Deshpande, Aaron Gordon and Gregory Reid, then bagged and tied the competition robot which will not be opened again until the first regional in Oshawa this weekend.

Joshi, Sarah Nagus and Alex Pagnan presented the team's chairman's award submission.

Pagnan, awards lead, then welcomed mentor Lyle Semple to the front, announcing that Semple has been nominated for the FIRST Woodie Flowers award. 

This award recognizes mentors who lead, inspire and empower, using excellent communication skills. Last year, Bill Jackson received the award.

The practice robot initially demonstrated its prowess at shooting, and later, following a technical adjustment, it was able to catch the ball and take a few spins around the field.

The Kinetic Knights head to Oshawa for their first regional, GTR East, March 7-8, followed by regionals in Waterloo and Windsor. And, if they qualify for worlds, they will be headed to St. Louis, Missouri, in April.

Team 781 continues to fund-raise to help cover the cost of these competitions. Team members will be the "celebrity" servers at Boston Pizza in Kincardine, Friday, March 14, from 5-8 p.m. - 10 per cent of the profits during that time will go to support the Kinetic Knights.

Nikhil Deshpande (L) and build captain Luke Splettstoesser set up the practice robot to shoot the ball, during the open house

The Kinetic Knights drive team, Aaron Gordon (L), Nikhil Deshpande, Gregory Reid and Luke Splettstoesser, bags up the competition robot after it was displayed at the open house


Build captain Luke Splettstoesser (C) discusses the competition robot with the public at the open house, Saturday afternoon, at the Lake Huron Learning Centre

Kinetic Knights build captain Luke Splettstoesser (L) and administrative captain Kush Joshi tell the crowd about their robot for the 2014 competition

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Sunday, March 02, 2014